One hundred years of history from KH Hair
“The business would not be here today without Mr Keith Hall’s foresight and vision. He has remained a constant figure of inspiration and guidance throughout our careers and those of all 300 staff we have at KH Hair” – Darren Messias and Tim Fee.
KH Hair Group is celebrating one hundred years of history which began with a single salon opening on a quiet corner in a Nottinghamshire town in 1920 and has since grown to comprise 21 award-winning salons situated throughout the East Midlands.
The First Salon
‘Halls’, was a modest establishment in Long Eaton comprising six gentlemen’s chairs downstairs and, in accordance with his forward-thinking entrepreneurial spirit, owner Mr Arthur Hall, installed eight ladies’ cubicles upstairs, forming the very first unisex salon outside of London.
In 1939, Arthur’s son, Keith, joined the business when, aged 18, he was brought in to fill the gap left by four of the salon’s barbers who had been called to duty in WW2. Mr Keith Hall joined the Royal Air Force in 1941, later becoming a flying instructor. In 1943, his bravery was put to the test when he witnessed a landing Tiger crash and began to burn. Despite the intense heat, Mr Hall, with the help of his pupil, managed to free the trapped instructor. This act led to him being awarded an MBE ‘for gallantry not in the face of the enemy’.
In 1946 Mr Hall returned to the family hairdressing business. Inspired by the likes of Freddy French and Raymond Bessone, he moved to London for a year to train with the finest hairdressers of the day including the great Charles Pluckrose of Wigmore Street, beginning a lifelong commitment to bringing the best knowledge and expertise back to the Midlands region.
The newly-branded ‘Keith Hall’ business grew steadily and after headhunting Stephen Messias as art director from Vidal Sassoon in 1968, the duo embarked on improving creativity and building pioneering educational programmes to create skilled, professional hairdressers and managers – an ethos KH Hair is still synonymous with today. In the early eighties, Mr Hall was bestowed the honour of President of Intercoiffure Mondial. He was made an Honorary President in the late eighties.
After building one of the most successful and illustrious careers in British hairdressing, Mr Hall retired in the mid 1980s, selling his 12 salons to the junior partners who had been running them, with the proviso they would continue to operate under the Keith Hall name. Taking Mr Hall’s forward-thinking advice and guidance, Stephen and his joint managing director, Brian Gosnell, turned the business into a more workable franchise format in 1985 and more salon openings soon came along. Keith Hall became KH Hair in 2014 following a further re-brand. “Mr Hall was an undisputed icon of the industry, spearheading revolutionary concepts which are commonplace today including the unisex salon and the salon franchise format.” – Darren Messias.
The Group has picked up some of the most highly sought after accolades in the industry. Most recently, the Training Academy won a British Hairdressing Business Award in 2017 and Creative Team members, Jessica Neil & Mary Geoghegan were named Eastern Hairdresser of the Year at the 2018 British Hairdressing Awards.
KH Hair Group is, today, run by joint managing directors, Darren Messias (Stephen’s son) and Tim Fee (both former apprentices with the company). Tim is set to retire in March 2020, leaving Darren singularly holding the reins of the KH Hair Group – a challenge he is very much looking forward to.”It’s going to feel strange without Tim sitting in the opposite chair after all these years.” he says. “However, I’m excited for the future of KH Hair and I’m determined to ensure all our salons continue to grow stronger and carry on delivering the very best in customer service and industry expertise”
Centenary celebrations will be in full swing throughout 2020 with events and offers including the giveaway of 100 free haircuts which will be handed out as surprise random acts of kindness.
1920 Mr Arthur Hall opens his first salon in Long Eaton
1939 Mr Keith Hall joins the family business in charge of Chair No.6
1941 Mr Keith Hall leaves the salon to join the Royal Air Force
1942 Mr Keith Hall qualifies as a flying instructor
1943 Mr Keith Hall is awarded an MBE for ‘gallantry not in the face of the enemy’
1946 Mr Keith Hall returns to the family hairdressing business
1948 Mr Keith Hall ventures to London for one year to train with Charles Pluckrose of Wigmore St.
1968 Stephen Messias is headhunted from Vidal Sassoon
1976 Tim Fee joins the business as a young apprentice
1980 Mr Keith Hall is appointed President of Intercoiffure Mondial. He was bestowed the title of Honorary President in the late 80s.
1989 Darren Messias joins the business as a young apprentice
1985 Mr Keith Hall retires from the business and the franchise model is adopted
1995 The KH Hair Creative Team is formed
2004 Darren and Tim become joint managing directors
2014 Keith Hall is re-branded to KH Hair and the KH Hair Colour Team is formed
2016 Darren receives a Fellow with Honours Award from the Fellowship for British Hairdressing
2020 Tim Fee set to retire.
For more about KH Hair’s 100 year history, please visit KH HAIR here.